Rheinmetall confirms record-breaking artillery shots at Alkantpan


Rheinmetall has set three new distance records for 155 mm indirect artillery fire during a shoot at the Alkantpan range in the Northern Cape and after the successful tests plans to develop a new 155 mm howitzer with an 83 km range.

Rheinmetall said the test fire event on 6 November saw three new maximum effective range records being set using various guns. A G6 howitzer with a 52-calibre gun achieved the longest range ever attained with a conventional 155 mm artillery round: 76 kilometres, while the 52-calibre gun of PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer lobbed a shell 67 kilometres. Finally, a G5 field howitzer with a 39-calibre gun attained a range of 54 kilometres.

The following table shows the ranges achieved with various projectiles and charges.

The Denel Land Systems G6 used at the live fire event was a new version designed to attain greater ranges in line with non-JBMoU (Joint Ballistic Memorandum of Understanding) standards. Using the Assegai V-LAP shell as an example, modular upgrades of the artillery ammunition were on show at the event. “The delegations could see for themselves the marked improvement in its performance with respect both to propulsion and range when fired from 39- and 52-calibre guns. Coupled with technologies from Rheinmetall Waffe Munition and Nitrochemie, Rheinmetall Denel Munition artillery shells exceed previous maximum effective ranges when fired from any conventional 155 mm artillery system currently in use,” Rheinmetall said.

The maximum range of over 76 km was achieved with a non-JBMoU-compliant gun. “This gun served as evidence of the feasibility of a new howitzer with a range of 83 km. Working in close cooperation with the German procurement authorities, Rheinmetall plans to develop and manufacture a new 155 mm gun of this type, which will feature a significantly larger chamber and a longer, 60-calibre barrel. The gun should be able to fire existing JBMoU-compliant rounds as well as new ammunition families. On the one hand, these new ammunition types will be optimized with respect to stresses occurring in the new gun, but will also be able to be fired from legacy JBMoU-compliant guns. Here, 83 kilometres serves as the benchmark, since the course correction fuse necessary for precision at these ranges reduces the attainable range by approximately ten percent. This means that the maximum effective range of 75 kilometres specified by the German procurement authorities is attainable,” Rheinmetall said.

Also displayed at the 6 November demonstration was Theinmetall Norway’s 120 mm Ragnarok mortar system, which is driven by an electric motor.

Rheinmetall Denel Munition (RDM) Managing Director Jan-Patrick Helmsen said, “Our goal is to be a true partner to the military. That’s why transparent cooperation and trust are so important to us. Tube artillery can provide defensive and offensive fire support. It’s cheaper and faster than rockets or air support, can operate around the clock, and engage targets with great precision using indirect fire anywhere within its range. Of course, range has proved to be a limiting factor in recent years, giving rise to the need for increased operational reach.

“We’re known for the Assegai family and our V-LAP round, the longest-range conventional artillery projectile. The combination of South African technology and German expertise has already resulted in enhanced range, effectiveness and precision. When it comes to artillery, Rheinmetall takes a totally holistic approach”, Helmsen said.